The Denver Music Summit kicks off this Friday

Categories: Music News

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Eric Gruneisen
Music, Denver's coolest export.

In 2009, a study commissioned by the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs introduced Creative Vitality Index (CVI), a metric created by Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) to measure our city's cultural viability. Based on Denver's CVI, the study determined that the Mile High City was an emerging national cultural hub, especially its music scene. The Denver Music Summit, which essentially resulted from that study, aims to continue helping solidify that notion this weekend. (The Summit runs from Friday, November 22, through Sunday, November 24, at the McNichols Building and the Mercury Cafe.)

See also: WESTAF introduces Independent Music on Tour, a grant program for local musicians

The primary focus of the Denver Music Summit is to help increase the viability and subsequent sustainability of the local scene. According to Bryce Merrill, senior associate director of WESTAF, who helped pull together the 2009 study, Listen Local: Music in the Mile High City, says the Summit was initially conceived "to build on strengths of the music scene and address challenges to its long-term artistic and financial vibrancy."

Merrill organized the event with Lisa Gedgaudas, program administrator for Create Denver, and the two also work together on the Denver Music Task Force, the advisory body that developed the Denver Music Summit and established the Independent Music on Tour program. "The Music Task Force, the advisory board that guided the development of the DMS and WESTAF's IMTour program," Merrill explains, "also wanted to showcase the actual thing we are all working so hard to support: music.

"So the goals this year were the same," he goes on. "To build a smarter, more sustainable music community, and take a moment to bring people together around great music." With that in mind, one of the concepts that the DMS is rooted in is "national in scope, local in focus."

"From the perspective of Create Denver," Merrill says, "it's important in Denver that we reach outside of our city to take a closer look at how the music industry is changing on a national level and get closer to how Denver finds its place on the map. We are excited to bring music industry experts and national performers to share the stage with Denver, to share in dialogue and create greater partnerships."

To that end, this year's Denver Music Summit has a number of workshops and panels that Merrill says will provide independent musicians with sustainable tools that can help them thrive. "They will see how musicians across the nation are reinventing what a success is by learning new formats on how they can promote themselves," he says, "and expand their fan base, enhance their brand, manage a tour, and generate income, all while pursuing their creative endeavors."

The seven panels on Saturday cover a range of topics, including "What You Should Know About the Future of Music." Presented by Storm Gloor of UCD, the panel will touch upon the massive changes in production, consumption and distribution of music. The Future of Music Coalition, meanwhile, will do a presentation on "Artist Revenue Streams," a national study on how today's artists are making a living.

Some of the panelists this year include Scott Booker, who manages the Flaming Lips; Jessica Cole, President of Lyric House Publishing; the Hi-Dive's Ben Desoto; Dessa of Doomtree collective; and Beth Franklin of Fox Tax Group, among others.

There's also going to be live music. While last year's summit had only one performance, this year will offer three nights of music. "Presenting national acts alongside local acts is further evidence of how artistically strong the Denver music community is," Merrill concludes. "If all goes well, the DMS will ensure that our artistic merits are matched only by our ability to make a living and make a difference."

Keep reading to see the schedule for the Denver Music Summit:

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